I should’ve known something big was going to happen while I was spending last Friday at a midwest mall in the United States while all kinds of action was happening on the home front. It happened exactly two years ago when the same Prime Minister at the centre of the current political crisis was provoking national debate with a Quebec is a nation within a nation controversy.
Those were the early days of the Stephen Harper government. Now, it seems, we’re witnessing the dying days of his short lived second term government — reelected just 6 weeks ago to form a slightly stronger minority against a greatly weakened Liberal Party Opposition.
The impetus of the creation of a coalition of three divergent political parties now set to form a government is Stephen Harper’s inability to outline a serious effort to tackle the ominous economic challenges that lie ahead in what is now generally accepted as a worldwide recession. Perhaps the reality of the Conservative’s reluctance to throw money around is to a great extent due to questions swirling around what actions will be taken in two months time with a new administration in Washington. Of course any Canadian government can’t easily admit the reality that our economic stimulus policies are significantly influenced by actions made in the United States.
But really, this big hissy fit carried out by the Opposition is less about rescuing the nation with a big stimulus package, than it is about being needled by a rather pushy Prime Minister who wanted to take taxpayer subsidies away from political parties. And so, a hormone generated bout of revenge by 3 humiliated leaders is about to impose its very unstable will on Canadians during very unstable economic times.
From what I’m sensing, Canadians’ giddiness or outrage over this coalition is based on whichever way they voted in the election just a month and a half ago. Even going back several elections, though, Canadians have shown themselves to be anything but supportive of left of centre governments. As someone who has moved between supporting centrist Conservative and Liberal governments in the past, I’ve got a hard time accepting the Liberals cozying up so much with the NDP. I would guess that a lot of other voters who kept the Chretien majorities (before the taint of the sponsorship scandal) in power would share my sentiments.
More outrageous, however, for many more Canadians has got to be the position of the separatist Bloc Quebecois in propping up the Liberal-NDP alliance. Conversely, how are nationalist Quebeckers going to absorb the BQ warming up to the Liberal Party of Canada, with it’s Clarity Act architect, Stephane Dion at the helm.
Need more be said about how appalling the political situation in Canada has become when the Liberal Party’s most disasterous leader ends up becoming this nation’s next Prime Minister? A leader who turned the natural governing party into a regional rump concentrated in Toronto and Newfoundland.
Much more can happen in the space of a week, but as it stands, the haste to which the political triad is moving could very well be its undoing. The Conservatives may very well be the beneficiaries some weeks or months down the road if Canadians are suddenly thrust into an election. If today’s TSX all time one day record plunge is any indication of how the financial world is viewing the antics in Ottawa, a lot more damage can be done than a lackluster Conservative economic statement.